The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kitchen Aid mixer

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mark d's picture
mark d

Kitchen Aid mixer

I am wanting to buy a Kitchen Aid Mixer for making bread (home use). Witch one should i buy?  and what about C hook v Spiral hooks?

Please help!

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

Do some searching, but if you're serious about making bread at home invest in any of the following.

Commercial Spiral mixer - 10 quart min.

Bosch Universal

Electrolux Magic Mill

I have a 20 quart commercial spiral and a Bosch Universal, for light duty applications I prefer my Bosch.  For larger batches/extended mixing time I prefer my spiral mixer.

mark d's picture
mark d

I have a 30 Qt Hobart at my restaurant, I just want something small, 1 or 2 loaves for home use.

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

Hi Mark,

I'm sure you'll get a lot of feedback on this one, but will throw my 2 cents into the hat as well. If you want to stick with KitchenAid, I'd advise looking around for a Hobart-built one. There are still plenty of them around -- and all of them will be pre-1986 (which is when KA changed hands as a product line and was purchased by Whirlpool). Some folks have had success with the newer ones (the model they sell at Costco is probably a wise way to go if you prefer new) and some have awful stories, but no one denies that the Hobart-built ones were quality machines. They only went up to 5 qts (like the K5-A and K5SS), but they are true workhorses like the Hobart you have at work. (Just stay within the limits of their safe operation.) I have a 29-year-old K45SS and it handles 1 loaf beautifully, but I'm careful with it, too.

I have heard that the spiral dough hook works better than the "C" hook, but also that the mixers built for a "C" hook might not handle the spiral hook very well. You might want to check into that.

Another option that's very workable for 1-2 loaf batches is purchasing a bread machine at a thrift store just to do your mixing. Seriously! Most of them have a dough cycle, and that's really all you need. Just check to see that the Teflon isn't flaking off and you'll be good to go. For a while we had a really nice bread machine that baked a horizontal loaf, and ended up using it like a mixer anyway. Just prefered the way the loaves turned out when baked in the oven.

Hope that's of some help, and it will be interesting to see what others chime in with.

- Marguerite

FWIW we have an Assistent as well, and had a Bosch previous to that. Both do a great job.

Zoologuy's picture
Zoologuy

I went "rogue" with my 1980s  KA and used a spiral dough hook sold through Amazon. It was wonderful not to be dealing with dough climbing up toward the motor housing and developing good gluten structure without warming up the dough too much. All was well until I mixed a rather stiff WW Struan ala Reinhart.

It shuddered and began making crunchy noises. Encouraged by several sets of online step-by-step guides, I took it apart thinking to find I'd started to chew up the expendable worm gear that's supposed to fail in a jam to save the motor. But that soft (nylon? Plastic? rubber?) gear didn't have a scratch on it. Instead one entire tooth was missing from the usual 59 inside the "internal gear" (ring-shaped with teeth on the inside to track the orbiting shaft that drives the hook).

Would it have broken using the C-hook under those conditions at that age? Maybe not. Do you think that "replacement part" as it's listed in the original KA manual was easy to find? The first five inquiries came up empty. I almost got one cannibalized from a repair facilities collection of dead mixers until a persistent young woman at Marcone Supply found a handful of new ones in another state and e-mailed that good news. When I called back to order the gear I got a different rep whose research failed to find the part at all, saying they just don't make them any more. But using Reply to the good-news message I did succeed on getting delivery. Once I have some food grade grease I'll tackle the rebuild.
For me it was a major lesson in the unevenness within a nationwide organization, although whether the problem was one of inventory cataloging, interbranch communication or personnel training I don't know.
Would I use the spiral hook again? Probably, but likely not with a stiff dough. I write 'would' instead of 'will' because I have recently gotten a Verona Assistent (aka DLX) and don't plan to use that KA for bread dough any more. The Assistent works just fine for the 1.5 kg mixes that suit my current oven. [Don't tell my wife I'm using phrases like 'current oven' yet.]
.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Since I replaced the "C" hook with the spiral hook (found on Ebay for $12.95 in a posting that specified appropriate models) I have seen a big difference in mixing time and proficiency with my 12-year old Pro 6, which I use for small amounts of dough, mostly for challah, and I keep to speed 2 max.  From what I read about the Bosch compact, it's a wonderful, well-loved machine.  I bought the Bosch Universal for larger amounts of dough and stiff doughs (bagels and multigrain sourdoughs), and it does just what I wanted.   My only complaint is that the center column makes for an exasperating struggle when I have to pry out a large amount of high-hydration s'dough.  

Joyful

mark d's picture
mark d

Hey dwcoleman.

I have been checking out the Bosch Universal is it to big to mix 2 loves of bread?

Tell me more about it. THANKS.

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

2 loaves @ 454g each will not be a problem. I will say that if you are looking for extensive gluten formation you may need to switch to dough paddles. Read up on Bosch dough creep as well. You should be able to easily manage 6 to 8 lbs of dough in the Bosch.

I've made Jasons Coccodrillo ciabatta in my Bosch with the dough paddles with no issue. I've made everything from cakes, cookies, brownies, to pastries, tartine loaves, low hydration bagels, english muffins, and rich mans brioche.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

 I owned a KA for about a month only. (Luckily I was able to get my $$$  back because nowhere on the box did it caution about using whole grains....) It couldn't handle 100% whole grains.  It was replaced with a Bosch which I used for about a year before replacing it with a DLX.

Before I caved in and bought the DLX I bought a Bosch Compact mixer so I could mix smaller amounts of dough with it while reserving it's larger sibling for larger batches of dough.  It is a great little work horse for it's size and handles 2 loaves beautifully.  I love it because it is gentle on the dough and VERY light so lifting it in and out of my cupboard for use is no problem.  It also gets used a lot by my daughter when she bakes cookies and cakes.  A snap to use and to clean up.

I found the Bosch to be awful with small amounts of dough.  I tried all sorts of things to help and none did.  As somebody mentioned - way too frequently the dough would creep up the center column which I found to be a big hassle.  Couldn't leave the machine to do it's thing on it's own...Cleaning it was also hard due to that column.  I also found that the way it kneaded dough to be a bit harsh on my 100% whole grain doughs - which is all I use to bake with. 

If at all possible I would suggest that you find someone who will let you 'test' drive each of the machines you are interested in so you can see for yourself what will work best for your needs.  What became readily apparent to me during my 'mixer search' was that there isn't one machine out there that is a perfect match for all bakers.  We each have our preferences :-)

Good Luck in your search and decision.

Janet

shastaflour's picture
shastaflour

I completely forgot about the Bosch Compact! Janet was so right to mention them, they are amazing little machines from pretty much all the accounts I've read. Wish we'd purchased one of those instead of our first KA (not the one we now have). And it's reasonable, too. Can't fault that.

:)

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I'm confused - you say you loved the Bosch compact which you bought for small amounts of dough - and then you say it didn't handle small amounts of dough?  Or is the Bosch that's "awful with small amounts of dough" the Bosch Universal?

I sold my Hobart KA last month and was thinking of replacing it with the Bosch Compact.  I use my Zo to do all my bread dough, but would like something suitable for cookies and cakes and frostings, maybe the occassional artisan loaf as well. I typically bake in very small quantities these days - for cake, one or 2 6" layers and that's about it.  I had thought the Bosch Compact might fit the bill - maybe not?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Yes, the larger Bosch Universal is the one that doesn't handle small amts. of dough well.  It is their larger mixer.

The Bosch compact is a different machine.  Nice and small and light.  A breeze to operate and does well with small amts of dough - has a spiral hook and is also great for mixing cookie and cake doughs too.  The cost of one is approx. $200.00.

Here is a site with a photo and more info. on it for you to get an idea of what I mean.

http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/bosch_compact_mixers.aspx

Janet

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Thanks.  As to the cost, it'll basically be nearly an even exchange for me as I sold the Hoboart KA for about the cost of the new Bosch Compact.

loydb's picture
loydb

As someone who burned up 2.5 KA mixers before switching to a DLX, I urge caution, especially if you're going to do whole grain.

On the up side, the KA does a great job making sausage, and I generally turn to it if I want to whip cream or anything light duty!

 

 

swtgran's picture
swtgran

Bosh Compact is the perfect accessory to the DLX.  Big loads go into the DLX, smaller recipes go in the Compact.  I have mixed up countless,  1 or 2 loaf batches in the Compact.  Most of them are whole grain.  

When they were closing out the Compact, on HSN, I bought one for each of my daughters, myself, and a spare for a wedding gift.  After using it, and learning you couldn't get them anymore, I kept the gift in case mine broke.  I didn't want to be without one.  Of course, now they are available again.    terry r.

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Terry,

Glad to know I am not alone :-)  I almost purchased a second for my daughter too - in fact my grain supply lady still has it on her shelf just in case....I might buy it for back up because they may disappear on our market again and these are a good deal for the price.  Interesting to note that this size is what sells more in Europe - or so I heard -and that people here (US) want the bigger machines.....Unfortunately we seem to be obsessed with the idea that bigger is better.....Well, not always.....Just my opinion :-)

Take Care,

Janet

 

plevee's picture
plevee

The Bosch Compact really can handle 6 pounds of dough without strain or heating up.

With the full load I knead with the lid off otherwise the dough hook tends to scratch the bottom of the bowl.

It's an astonishingly powerful machine.

Patsy

fminparis's picture
fminparis

I only use a Cuisinart to knead dough.  I found it gives much better results than Kitchanaid with dough hook.

loydb's picture
loydb

I can't find the box that has my DLX mixing bowl in it, so I was forced to fall back on the KA today. It is totally unable to cope with 2# of whole grain dough. I gave up and hand kneaded it, which reminded me again why I bought the DLX in the first place... I shouldn't need a nap after making two loaves of bread :)

 

 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Loyd,

Just wanted to say 'hi'.  Haven't seen you posting lately so it is nice to know you are still lurking around here.  I figure you are busy in your shop 'playing' with glass and trying to survive your summer heat....though I can't imagine that  working with glass would help beat the heat. :-O

Take Care,

Janet

loydb's picture
loydb

Actually, my wife found out in April that she got a job in Rhode Island, so the last four months have been a whirlwind of moving from Texas. I've finally got 90% of my kitchen unpacked at the new place (and a new oven!). I wish my DLX bowl wasn't in the missing 10% though...

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

That is quite a move! I shudder to think what it would be like to pack up everything and then unpack....So much easier adding one item at a time to a household/kitchen....good time to weed out stuff I imagine.

Good luck with the remaining 10% and your learning curve with a new oven.

Janet

hanseata's picture
hanseata

means: don't buy a modern KA!

I was stupid enough to purchase a 6-qt KA Pro (haha!) and hardly ever use it. It cannot handle heavier doughs.

My 7-qt Cuisinart handles all kinds of dough (for up to 2 regular breads) beautifully, and for larger batches I have my old 20-qt Hobart.

Karin